Three years ago, the Louisiana Legislature approved medical marijuana as a treatment option for certain health conditions.
The drug is expected to become available to patients this year.
The number of people who could qualify has grown to about 100,000, after the Legislature expanded the program.
A previous rule by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners limited doctors to recommending medical marijuana to just 100 patients each. But the state board voted last month to eliminate that patient cap, out of concern that it would make the drug too difficult to access.
Only a limited number of specially-licensed pharmacies will distribute medical marijuana Louisiana has not legalized recreational marijuana.
LSU and Southern University’s agriculture centers are growing the plant and will process the medicine into different forms, like oils, edibles or pills.
Medical marijuana does not include the inhalation or vaping of cannabis. According to the law it cannot be in raw form or smoked.
Around 30 physicians in Louisiana have been approved to recommend the drug.
The list of debilitating conditions that will be eligible for treatment include:
- HIV+ status
- Wasting syndrome
- Seizure disorders
- Crohn’s disease
- Muscular dystrophy,
- Parkinson’s disease
- Severe muscle spasms
- Intractable pain
- Post traumatic disorder
- Some conditions associated with autism spectrum disorder.